Good vibes can vanish quickly in the game of baseball. The Brewers were painfully reminded of that on Wednesday.
Third baseman Travis Shaw dislocated his left shoulder diving for one of the Reds’ barrage of perfectly placed hits in the early innings of the Brewers’ 7-3 loss at Great American Ball Park, and is now on an injured list already populated by starting center fielder Lorenzo Cain and second baseman Kolten Wong.
Reds medical director Dr. Timothy Kremchek popped Shaw’s shoulder -- his non-throwing shoulder -- back into joint on-site. A day later, Shaw was placed on the 10-day injured list.
Shoulder dislocations can vary widely, from as benign as Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger popping his out of joint while celebrating a home run in Game 7 of last year’s National League Championship Series and then playing in the World Series, to as significant as a months-long absence. And Bellinger, it should be noted, did undergo surgery after the season.
“It's not going to be a couple of days,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “Another player is going to get an opportunity to step up.”
The loss snapped the Brewers’ five-game winning streak and a stretch of 10 victories in their last 11 games, but the longer-term worry was Shaw, who dove to his right in the bottom of the second for Jonathan India’s run-scoring single along the third-base line and landed very awkwardly on his left arm in the process.
Shaw remained still on the infield dirt for several minutes while medical personnel from both teams tended to him and ultimately immobilized his left arm. A Reds official drove a cart to the area while Shaw received attention, but eventually, he was able to stand with help and walked off the field into the clubhouse while his father, Jeff, looked on with concern from behind the visitors’ dugout.
“When I got there, he was in pain, you know?” Brewers shortstop Willy Adames said. “He told me, 'Don't touch me. My shoulder hurts. I think it’s out.' At that point, I knew that it was bad.”
When the game resumed and the Reds recommenced their rally, they made it a three-run inning and a 5-1 lead after two innings.
A day earlier, Shaw was successful on a similar play down the line in the Brewers’ 5-1 win over the Reds, while his two-out, two-run double in the ninth iced the win. Shaw has played a solid third base all season since re-signing with Milwaukee on a Minor League deal and making the club out of Spring Training, even as his bat has been slow to come around. He is second on the team with 28 RBIs despite a .191/.279/.337 slash line.
“In the long term, it probably means Luis Urías is going to play more third base when Kolten comes back,” Counsell said. “[Urías] is doing a really nice job and he's swinging the bat really well. Another player is going to step up and get an opportunity. When you have injuries, that's how it works. You have to fill in around him and that's going to be our job.”
In the moment, however, Adames said it was difficult to move on.
“It's scary when you see that and you realize that every time you dive for a ball, you're willing to get hurt like that because you know something like that can happen,” he said. “As soon as that play happened, you could see it in everybody's face. Everybody got down, their attitude got really down, and that's going to happen whenever [something] like that happens in the game. One of your boys just got hurt, you know what I mean? Of course it was in our mind.”
The India hit was one of a slew of examples of the Reds benefiting from putting the ball in play against Brewers starter Brett Anderson.
In the first inning, hot-hitting Jesse Winker and Nick Castellanos reached on successive infield choppers, with Anderson charged with a throwing error as he scrambled to make a play on Castellanos. Both runners came around to score as Cincinnati turned a 1-0 deficit in the first inning into a 2-1 lead.
And in the second, with a runner aboard, Reds pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez legged out an infield hit before India’s base hit deflected off the diving Shaw and into foul ground while one run scored. Anderson recovered to retire Winker, but Castellanos made it a big inning when he delivered a two-out double for two more runs. Anderson called it a “terrible” pitch.
“We had our gloves on five balls in the first 11 hitters and didn't get outs on any of them,” Counsell said. “We only made one error. It was just strange. It was a little Twilight Zone, almost.”